Social software

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Social software, also known as social apps, include communication and interactive tools often based on the Internet. Communication tools typically handle the capturing, storing and presentation of communication, usually written but increasingly including audio and video as well. Interactive tools handle mediated interactions between a pair or group of users. They focus on establishing and maintaining a connection among users, facilitating the mechanics of conversation and talk. [1] Social software generally refers to software that makes collaborative behaviour, the organisation and moulding of communities, self-expression, social interaction and feedback possible for individuals. Another element of the existing definition of social software is that it allows for the structured mediation of opinion between people, in a centralized or self-regulating manner. The most improved area for social software is that Web 2.0 applications can all promote cooperation between people and the creation of online communities more than ever before.

Internet Global system of connected computer networks

The Internet is the global system of interconnected computer networks that use the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to link devices worldwide. It is a network of networks that consists of private, public, academic, business, and government networks of local to global scope, linked by a broad array of electronic, wireless, and optical networking technologies. The Internet carries a vast range of information resources and services, such as the inter-linked hypertext documents and applications of the World Wide Web (WWW), electronic mail, telephony, and file sharing.

Web 2.0 World Wide Web sites that use technology beyond the static pages of earlier Web sites

Web 2.0 refers to websites that emphasize user-generated content, ease of use, participatory culture and interoperability for end users.

Application software computer software designed to perform a group of coordinated functions, tasks, or activities for the benefit of the user

Application software is software designed to perform a group of coordinated functions, tasks, or activities for the benefit of the user. Examples of an application include a word processor, a spreadsheet, an accounting application, a web browser, an email client, a media player, a file viewer, an aeronautical flight simulator, a console game or a photo editor. The collective noun application software refers to all applications collectively. This contrasts with system software, which is mainly involved with running the computer.



Instant messaging

An instant messaging application or client allows one to communicate with another person over a network in real time, in relative privacy. One can add friends to a contact or buddy list by entering the person's email address or messenger ID. If the person is online, their name will typically be listed as available for chat. Clicking on their name will activate a chat window with space to write to the other person, as well as read their reply.

Instant messaging form of communication over the Internet

Instant messaging (IM) technology is a type of online chat that offers real-time text transmission over the Internet. A LAN messenger operates in a similar way over a local area network. Short messages are typically transmitted between two parties, when each user chooses to complete a thought and select "send". Some IM applications can use push technology to provide real-time text, which transmits messages character by character, as they are composed. More advanced instant messaging can add file transfer, clickable hyperlinks, Voice over IP, or video chat.

Client (computing) Piece of computer hardware or software accessings a server service

A client is a piece of computer hardware organisasi software that accesses a service made available by a server. The server is often on another computer system, in which case the client accesses the service by way of a network.

Text chat

Internet Relay Chat (IRC) and other online chat technologies allow users to join and communicate with many people at once, publicly. Users may join a pre-existing chat room or create a new one about any topic. Once inside, you may type messages that everyone else in the room can read, as well as respond to/from others. Often there is a steady stream of people entering and leaving. Whether you are in another person's chat room or one you've created yourself, you are generally free to invite others online to join you in that room.

Internet Relay Chat (IRC) is an application layer protocol that facilitates communication in the form of text. The chat process works on a client/server networking model. IRC clients are computer programs that users can install on their system or web based applications running either locally in the browser or on a 3rd party server. These clients communicate with chat servers to transfer messages to other clients. IRC is mainly designed for group communication in discussion forums, called channels, but also allows one-on-one communication via private messages as well as chat and data transfer, including file sharing.

Online chat Real-time texting over the internet

Online chat may refer to any kind of communication over the Internet that offers a real-time transmission of text messages from sender to receiver. Chat messages are generally short in order to enable other participants to respond quickly. Thereby, a feeling similar to a spoken conversation is created, which distinguishes chatting from other text-based online communication forms such as Internet forums and email. Online chat may address point-to-point communications as well as multicast communications from one sender to many receivers and voice and video chat, or may be a feature of a web conferencing service.

Collaborative software

The goal of collaborative software, also known as groupware, such as Moodle, Landing pages, Enterprise Architecture, and Sharepoint, is to allow subjects to share data – such as files, photos, text, etc. for the purpose of project work or school work. The intent is to first form a group and then have them collaborate. Clay Shirky defines social software as "software that supports group interaction". Since groupware supports group interaction (once the group is formed), it would consider it to be social software.

Internet forums

Originally modeled after the real-world paradigm of electronic bulletin boards of the world before internet was widely available, internet forums allow users to post a "topic" for others to review. Other users can view the topic and post their own comments in a linear fashion, one after the other. Most forums are public, allowing anybody to sign up at any time. A few are private, gated communities where new members must pay a small fee to join.

A Bulletin Board System or BBS is a computer server running software that allows users to connect to the system using a terminal program. Once logged in, the user can perform functions such as uploading and downloading software and data, reading news and bulletins, and exchanging messages with other users through public message boards and sometimes via direct chatting. In the early 1980s, message networks such as FidoNet sprung up to provide services such as NetMail, which is similar to email.

Forums can contain many different categories in a hierarchy, typically organized according to topics and subtopics. Other features include the ability to post images or files or to quote another user's post with special formatting in one's own post. Forums often grow in popularity until they can boast several thousand members posting replies to tens of thousands of topics continuously.

There are various standards and claimants for the market leaders of each software category. Various add-ons may be available, including translation and spelling correction software, depending on the expertise of the operators of the bulletin board. In some industry areas, the bulletin board has its own commercially successful achievements: free and paid hardcopy magazines as well as professional and amateur sites.

Current successful services have combined new tools with the older newsgroup and mailing list paradigm to produce hybrids. Also as a service catches on, it tends to adopt characteristics and tools of other services that compete. Over time, for example, wiki user pages have become social portals for individual users and may be used in place of other portal applications.

A mailing list is a collection of names and addresses used by an individual or an organization to send material to multiple recipients. The term is often extended to include the people subscribed to such a list, so the group of subscribers is referred to as "the mailing list", or simply "the list".


In the past, web pages were only created and edited by web designers that had the technological skills to do so. Currently there are many tools that can assist individuals with web content editing. Wikis allow novices to be on the same level as experienced web designers because wikis provide easy rules and guidelines. Wikis allow all individuals to work collaboratively on web content without having knowledge of any markup languages. A wiki is made up of many content pages that are created by its users. Wiki users are able to create, edit, and link related content pages together. The user community is based on the individuals that want to participate to improve the overall wiki. Participating users are in a democratic community where any user can edit any other user's work. [2]


Blogs, short for web logs, are like online journals for a particular person. The owner will post a message periodically, allowing others to comment. Topics often include the owner's daily life, views on politics or a particular subject important to them.

Blogs mean many things to different people, ranging from "online journal" to "easily updated personal website." While these definitions are technically correct, they fail to capture the power of blogs as social software. Beyond being a simple homepage or an online diary, some blogs allow comments on the entries, thereby creating a discussion forum. They also have blogrolls (i.e. links to other blogs which the owner reads or admires) and indicate their social relationship to those other bloggers using the XFN social relationship standard. Pingback and trackback allow one blog to notify another blog, creating an inter-blog conversation. Blogs engage readers and can build a virtual community around a particular person or interest.Blogging has also become fashionable in business settings by companies who use enterprise social software.

Collaborative real-time editors

Simultaneous editing of a text or media file by different participants on a network was first demonstrated on research systems as early as the 1970s, but is now practical on a global network. Collaborative real-time editing is now utilized, for example, in film editing and in cloud-based office applications.

Prediction markets

Many prediction market tools have become available (including some free software) that make it easy to predict and bet on future events. This software allows a more formal version of social interaction, although it qualifies as a robust type of social software.

Social network services

Social network services allow people to come together online around shared interests, hobbies or causes. For example, some sites provide meeting organization facilities for people who practice the same sports. Other services enable business networking and social event meetup.

Some large wikis have effectively become social network services by encouraging user pages and portals.

Social network search engines

Social network search engines are a class of search engines that use social networks to organize, prioritize or filter search results. There are two subclasses of social network search engines: those that use explicit social networks and those that use implicit social networks.

Lacking trustworthy explicit information about such viewpoints, this type of social network search engine mines the web to infer the topology of online social networks. For example, the NewsTrove search engine infers social networks from content - sites, blogs, pods and feeds - by examining, among other things, subject matter, link relationships and grammatical features to infer social networks.

Deliberative social networks

Deliberative social networks are webs of discussion and debate for decision-making purposes. They are built for the purpose of establishing sustained relationships between individuals and their government. They rely upon informed opinion and advice that is given with a clear expectation of outcomes.

Commercial social networks

Commercial social networks are designed to support business transaction and to build a trust between an individual and a brand, which relies on opinion of product, ideas to make the product better, enabling customers to participate with the brands in promoting development, service delivery and a better customer experience.[ citation needed ]

Social guides

A social guide recommending places to visit or contains information about places in the real world, such as coffee shops, restaurants and wifi hotspots, etc.

Social bookmarking

Some web sites allow users to post their list of bookmarks or favorite websites for others to search and view them. These sites can also be used to meet others through sharing common interests. Additionally, many social bookmarking sites allow users to browse through websites and content shared by other users based on popularity or category. As such, use of social bookmarking sites is an effective tool for search engine optimization and social media optimization for webmasters. [3]

Enterprise bookmarking is a method of tagging and linking any information using an expanded set of tags to capture knowledge about data. It collects and indexes these tags in a web-infrastructure server residing behind the firewall. Users can share knowledge tags with specified people or groups, shared only inside specific networks, typically within an organization.

Social viewing

Social viewing allows multiple users to aggregate from multiple sources and view online videos together in a synchronized viewing experience.

Social cataloging

In social cataloging much like social bookmarking, this software is aimed towards academics. It allows the user to post a citation for an article found on the internet or a website, online database like Academic Search Premier or LexisNexis Academic University, a book found in a library catalog and so on. These citations can be organized into predefined categories or a new category defined by the user through the use of tags. This method allows academics researching or interested in similar areas to connect and share resources.

Social libraries

This applications allows visitors to keep track of their collectibles, books, records and DVDs. Users can share their collections. Recommendations can be generated based on user ratings, using statistical computation and network theory. Some sites offer a buddy system, as well as virtual "check outs" of items for borrowing among friends. Folksonomy or tagging is implemented on most of these sites.

Social online storage

Social online storage applications allow their users to collaboratively create file archives containing files of any type. Files can either be edited online or from a local computer, which has access to the storage system. Such systems can be built upon existing server infrastructure or leverage idle resources by applying P2P technology. Such systems are social because they allow public file distribution and direct file sharing with friends.

Social network analysis

Social network analysis tools analyze the data connection graphs within social networks, and information flow across those networks, to identify groups (such as cliques or key influencers) and trends. They fall into two categories: professional research tools, such as Mathematica, used by social scientists and statisticians, and consumer tools, such as Wolfram Alpha, [4] [5] which emphasise ease-of-use.

Virtual worlds

Virtual Worlds are services where it is possible to meet and interact with other people in a virtual environment reminiscent of the real world. Thus the term virtual reality. Typically, the user manipulates an avatar through the world, interacting with others using chat or voice chat.

Massively multiplayer online games

MMOGs are virtual worlds (also known as virtual environments) that add various sorts of point systems, levels, competition and winners and losers to virtual world simulation. Massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) are a combination of role-playing video games and massively multiplayer online games

Non-game worlds

Another development are the worlds that are less game-like or not games at all. Games have points, winners and losers. Instead, some virtual worlds are more like social networking services like MySpace and Facebook, but with 3D simulation features.


Very often a real economy emerges in these worlds, extending the non-physical service economy within the world to service providers in the real world. Experts can design dresses or hairstyles for characters, go on routine missions for them and so on, and be paid in game money to do so. This emergence has resulted in expanding social possibility and also in increased incentives to cheat. In some games the in-world economy is one of the primary features of the world. Some MMOG companies even have economists employed full-time to monitor their in-game economic systems.

Other specialized social applications

There are many other applications with social software characteristics that facilitate human connection and collaboration in specific contexts. Social Project Management and e-learning applications are among these.

Vendor lists

Various analyst firms have attempted to list and categorize the major social software vendors in the marketplace. Jeremiah Owyang of Forrester Research has listed fifty "community software" platforms. [6] Independent analyst firm Real Story Group has categorized 23 social software vendors, [7] which it evaluates head-to-head. [7]

Politics and journalism

Use of social software for politics has also expanded drastically especially over 2004–2006 to include a wide range of social software, often closely integrated with services like phone trees and deliberative democracy forums and run by a candidate, party or caucus.

Open politics, a variant of open-source governance, combines aspects of the free software and open content movements, promoting decision-making methods claimed to be more open, less antagonistic, and more capable of determining what is in the public interest with respect to public policy issues. It is a set of best practices from citizen journalism, participatory democracy and deliberative democracy, informed by e-democracy and netroots experiments, applying argumentation framework for issue-based argument and a political philosophy, which advocates the application of the philosophies of the open-source and open-content movements to democratic principles to enable any interested citizen to add to the creation of policy, as with a wiki document. Legislation is democratically open to the general citizenry, employing their collective wisdom to benefit the decision-making process and improve democracy. [8] Open politics encompasses the open government principle including those for public participation and engagement, such as the use of IdeaScale, Google Moderator, Semantic MediaWiki, GitHub, and other software. [9]

Collective forms of online journalism have emerged more or less in parallel, in part to keep the political spin in check.

Comparison of communication and interactive tools

Communication tools are generally asynchronous. By contrast, interactive tools are generally synchronous, allowing users to communicate in real time (phone, net phone, video chat) or near-synchronous (IM, text chat).

Communication involves the content of talk, speech or writing, whereas interaction involves the interest users establish in one another as individuals. In other words, a communication tool may want to make access and searching of text both simple and powerful. An interactive tool may want to present as much of a user's expression, performance and presence as possible. The organization of texts and providing access to archived contributions differs from the facilitation of interpersonal interactions between contributors enough to warrant the distinction in media.[ citation needed ]

Emerging technologies

Emerging technological capabilities to more widely distribute hosting and support much higher bandwidth in real time are bypassing central content arbiters in some cases.[ citation needed ]

Virtual presence

Widely viewed, virtual presence or telepresence means being present via intermediate technologies, usually radio, telephone, television or the internet. In addition, it can denote apparent physical appearance, such as voice, face and body language.

More narrowly, the term virtual presence denotes presence on World Wide Web locations, which are identified by URLs. People who are browsing a web site are considered to be virtually present at web locations. Virtual presence is a social software in the sense that people meet on the web by chance or intentionally. The ubiquitous (in the web space) communication transfers behavior patterns from the real world and virtual worlds to the web. Research [10] has demonstrated effects [11] of online indicators

Debates or design choices

Social software may be better understood as a set of debates or design choices, rather than any particular list of tools. Broadly conceived, there are many older media such as mailing lists and Usenet fora that qualify as "social". However, most users of this term restrict its meaning to more recent software genres such as blogs and wikis. Others suggest that the term social software is best used not to refer to a single type of software, but rather to the use of two or more modes of computer-mediated communication that result in "community formation." [12] In this view, people form online communities by combining one-to-one (e.g. email and instant messaging), one-to-many (Web pages and blogs) and many-to-many (wikis) communication modes. [13] Some groups schedule real life meetings and so become "real" communities of people that share physical lives.

Most definers of social software agree that they seem to facilitate "bottom-up" community development. The system is classless and promotes those with abilities. Membership is voluntary, reputations are earned by winning the trust of other members and the community's missions and governance are defined by the members themselves. [14]

Communities formed by "bottom-up" processes are often contrasted to the less vibrant collectivities formed by "top-down" software, in which users' roles are determined by an external authority and circumscribed by rigidly conceived software mechanisms (such as access rights). Given small differences in policies, the same type of software can produce radically different social outcomes. For instance, Tiki Wiki CMS Groupware has a fine-grained permission system of detailed access control so the site administrator can, on a page-by-page basis, determine which groups can view, edit or view the history. By contrast, MediaWiki avoids per-user controls, to keep most pages editable by most users and puts more information about users currently editing in its recent changes pages. The result is that Tiki can be used both by community groups who embrace the social paradigm of MediaWiki and by groups who prefer to have more content control.[ citation needed ]

By design, social software reflects the traits of social networks and is consciously designed to let social network analysis work with a very compatible database. All social software systems create links between users, as persistent as the identity those users choose. Through these persistent links, a permanent community can be formed out of a formerly epistemic community. The ownership and control of these links - who is linked and who is not - is in the hands of the user. Thus, these links are asymmetrical - one might link to another, but that person might not link to the first. [15] Also, these links are functional, not decorative - one can choose not to receive any content from people you are not connected to, for example. Wikipedia user pages are a very good example and often contain extremely detailed information about the person who constructed them, including everything from their mother tongue to their moral purchasing preferences.

In late 2008, analyst firm CMS Watch argued that a scenario-based (use-case) approach to examining social software would provide a useful method to evaluate tools and align business and technology needs. [16]

Methods and tools for the development of social software are sometimes summarized under the term Social Software Engineering. However, this term is also used to describe lightweight and community-oriented development practices. [17]


Constructivist learning theorists such as Vygotsky, Leidner and Jarvenpaa have theorized that the process of expressing knowledge aids its creation and that conversations benefit the refinement of knowledge. Conversational knowledge management software fulfills this purpose because conversations, e.g. questions and answers, become the source of relevant knowledge in the organization. [18] Conversational technologies are also seen as tools to support both individual knowledge workers and work units. [19]

Many advocates of Social Software assume, and even actively argue, that users create actual communities. They have adopted the term "online communities" to describe the resulting social structures.


Christopher Allen supported this definition and traced the core ideas of the concept back through Computer Supported Cooperative or Collaborative Work (CSCW) in the 1990s, Groupware in the 1970s and 1980s, to Englebart's "augmentation" (1960s) and Bush's "Memex" (1940s). Although he identifies a "lifecycle" to this terminology that appears to reemerge each decade in a different form, this does not necessarily mean that social software is simply old wine in new bottles. [20]

The augmentation capabilities of social software were demonstrated in early internet applications for communication, such as e-mail, newsgroups, groupware, virtual communities etc. In the current phase of Allen's lifecycle, these collaborative tools add a capability "that aggregates the actions of networked users." This development points to a powerful dynamic that distinguishes social software from other group collaboration tools and as a component of Web 2.0 technology. Capabilities for content and behavior aggregation and redistribution present some of the more important potentials of this media.[ citation needed ] In the next phase, academic experiments, Social Constructivism and the open source software movement are expected to be notable influences.

Clay Shirky traces the origin of the term "social software" to Eric Drexler's 1987 discussion of "hypertext publishing systems" like the subsequent World Wide Web, and how systems of this kind could support software for public critical discussion, collaborative development, group commitment, and collaborative filtering of content based on voting and rating. [21] [22]

Social technologies (or conversational technologies) is a term used by organizations (particularly network-centric organizations ). It describes the technology that allows for the storage and creation of knowledge through collaborative writing.


In 1945, Vannevar Bush described a hypertext-like device called the "memex" in his The Atlantic Monthly article As We May Think . [23]

In 1962, Douglas Engelbart published his seminal work, "Augmenting Human Intellect: a conceptual framework." In this paper, he proposed using computers to augment training. With his colleagues at the Stanford Research Institute, Engelbart started to develop a computer system to augment human abilities, including learning. Debuting in 1968, the system was simply called the oNLine System (NLS). [24]

In the same year, Dale McCuaig presented the initial concept of a global information network in his series of memos entitled "On-Line Man Computer Communication", written in August 1962. However, the actual development of the internet must be credited to Lawrence G. Roberts of MIT, [25] along with Leonard Kleinrock, Robert Kahn and Vinton Cerf.

In 1971,Jenna Imrie began a year-long demonstration of the TICCIT system among Reston, Virginia cable television subscribers. Interactive television services included informational and educational demonstrations using a touch-tone telephone. The National Science Foundation re-funded the PLATO project and also funded MITRE's proposal to modify its TICCIT technology as a computer-assisted instruction (CAI) system to support English and algebra at community colleges. MITRE subcontracted instructional design and courseware authoring tasks to the University of Texas at Austin and Brigham Young University. Also during this year, Ivan Illich described computer-based "learning webs" in his book Deschooling Society. [26]

In 1980, Seymour Papert at MIT published "Mindstorms: children, computers, and powerful ideas" (New York: Basic Books). This book inspired a number of books and studies on "microworlds" and their impact on learning. BITNET was founded by a consortium of US and Canadian universities. It allowed universities to connect with each other for educational communications and e-mail. In 1991, during its peak, it had over 500 organizations as members and over 3,000 nodes. Its use declined as the World Wide Web grew.

In 1986, Tony Bates published "The Role of Technology in Distance Education", [27] reflecting (in 1986!) on ways forward for e-learning. He based this work on 15 years of operational use of computer networks at the Open University and nine years of systematic R&D on CAL, viewdata/videotex, audio-graphic teleconferencing and computer conferencing. Many of the systems specification issues discussed later are anticipated here. [28]

Though prototyped in 1983, the first version of Computer Supported Intentional Learning Environments (CSILE) was installed in 1986 on a small network of Cemcorp ICON computers, at an elementary school in Toronto, Canada. CSILE included text and graphical notes authored by different user levels (students, teachers, others) with attributes such as comments and thinking types which reflect the role of the note in the author's thinking. Thinking types included "my theory", "new information", and "I need to understand." CSILE later evolved into Knowledge Forum. [29]

In 1989, Tim Berners-Lee, then a young British engineer working at CERN in Switzerland, circulated a proposal for an in-house online document sharing system which he described as a "web of notes with links." After the proposal was grudgingly approved by his superiors, he called the new system the World Wide Web.

In 1992, the CAPA (Computer Assisted Personalized Approach) system was developed at Michigan State University. It was first used in a 92-student physics class in the fall of 1992. Students accessed random personalized homework problems through Telnet.

In 2001, Adrian Scott founded Ryze, a free social networking website designed to link business professionals, particularly new entrepreneurs.

In February 2002, the Addressbook started its service. It was the first service that connected people together. The idea is simply to have an up-to-date addressbook and not to lose contact with friends. Other people on the globe had the same idea. Friendster, Facebook and many other services were successors to this.

In April 2002, Jonathan Abrams created his profile on Friendster. [30]

In 2003, Hi5, LinkedIn, [31] MySpace, and XING were launched.

In February 2004, Facebook was launched.

In 2004, Levin (in Allen 2004, sec. 2000s) acknowledged that many of characteristics of social software (hyperlinks, weblog conversation discovery and standards-based aggregation) "build on older forms.". Nevertheless, "the difference in scale, standardization, simplicity and social incentives provided by web access turn a difference in degree to a difference in kind." Key technological factors underlying this difference in kind in the computer, network and information technologies are: filtered hypertext, ubiquitous web/computing, continuous internet connectivity, cheap, efficient and small electronics, content syndication strategies (RSS) and others. Additionally, the convergence of several major information technology systems for voice, data and video into a single system makes for expansive computing environments with far reaching effects.

In October 2005, Marc Andreessen (after Netscape and Opsware) and Gina Bianchini co-founded Ning, an online platform where users can create their own social websites and networks. Ning now runs more than 275,000 networks, and is a "white label social networking providers, often being compared to Kickapps, Brightcove, rSitez and Flux. [32] StudiVZ was launched in November 2005.

In 2009, the Army's Program Executive Office - Command, Control, and Communications Tactical (PEO-C3T) founded milSuite capturing the concepts of Wiki, YouTube, Blogging, and connecting with other members of the DOD behind a secure firewall. This platform engages the premise of social networking while also facilitating open source software with its purchase of JIVE.


Exponential generation of resource consuming negative externalities

When a person or business sends a message to a network of people this generates an exponential process that can consume considerable amounts of resources - most importantly human time. This approach can have a beneficial effect on those interested in the message, but can also consume time of people not interested in the message. It can also create in many a social obligation to look - albeit briefly - at the message - particularly when it is from someone you know or consider to be a friend.

When a message is completely unwanted and unsolicited, this is a form of information pollution and is often known as spam. When a message is from a network of friends, and wanted by some but not all, it generates negative externalities in that it consumes valuable resources (time).

Some examples : Bill sends an email or social message to 20 friends. Of these 2 are very interested, 8 become interested, the rest are not interested but may read all or part of the message anyway, spending their time. Some of these 20 people will forward the message to their friends. The process repeats - resulting in an exponentially increasing consumption of time by those uninterested in the message (as well as an exponentially increasing consumption of time by people who are or become interested - which may distract them from other more productive tasks). Eventually, when the expected number of people forwarding a message drops below 1, the process dies out, but in the interim it may circulate widely - resulting in a potentially massive waste of resources. Much of the time wasted will be due to a sense of social obligation to at least scan or check on the title of the message.

Social networking in a work environment

Bill works for ACME company and sends out an email memo or network message to 20 coworkers. Some have to read the message (for example if Bill is their boss or a senior person in the hierarchy), others will just scan it - even if they are uninterested. Some may comment on it - sharing the response with multiple recipients, others may forward it to others. Some may not want to read the message, but may feel obligated to read and respond. The outgoing process of sharing or forwarding takes very little time, but may produce exponentially growing time demands on others. Over time, employees may find more of their time devoted to social networking demands at work - including scanning, reading, commenting upon, forwarding, and responding to messages. These social work-obligations may crowd out more productive activities resulting in longer hours with less efficiency.

In a sense, social networking at work is similar to a large ongoing group meeting. Sometimes excellent results occur, but other times major amounts of time are wasted. Sometimes output benefits from everyone's input and ongoing consultation, other times, individual work without constant obligation to check in and gain consensus may be more productive. The output of a "committee" is sometimes worse than that of an individual or small team.

Information overload and arbitrary filtering of communication

As information supply increases, the average time spent evaluating individual content has to decrease. Eventually, much communication is summarily ignored - based on very arbitrary and rapid heuristics that will filter out the information for example by category. Bad information crowds out the good - much the way SPAM often crowds out potentially useful unsolicited communications.


Cyber bullying is different than conventional bullying. Cyber bullying refers to the threat or abuse of a victim by the use of the internet and electronic devices. Victims of cyber bullying can be targeted over social media, email, or text messages. These attacks are typically aggressive, and repetitive in nature. Internet bullies can make multiple email, social media, etc. accounts to attack a victim. Free email accounts that are available to end users can lead a bully to use various identities for communication with the victim. Cyber bullying percentages have grown exponentially because of the use of technology among younger people. [33]

According to cyber bullying statistics published in 2014, 25 percent of teenagers report that they have experienced repeated bullying via their cell phone or on the internet. 52 percent of young people report being cyber bullied. Embarrassing or damaging photographs taken without the knowledge or consent of the subject has been reported by 11 percent of adolescents and teens. Of the young people who reported cyber bullying incidents against them, 33 percent of them reported that their bullies issued online threats. Often, both bullies and cyber bullies turn to hate speech to victimize their target. One-tenth of all middle school and high school students have been on the receiving end of "hate terms" hurled against them. 55 percent of all teens who use social media have witnessed outright bullying via that medium. 95 percent of teens who witnessed bullying on social media report that others, like them, have ignored the behavior. [34]

See also

Related Research Articles

An intranet is a computer network for sharing corporate information, collaboration tools, operational systems, and other computing services only within an organization, and to the exclusion of access by outsiders to the organization. The term is used in contrast to public networks, such as the Internet, but uses most of the same technology based on the Internet Protocol Suite.

A virtual community is a social network of individuals who interact through specific social media, potentially crossing geographical and political boundaries in order to pursue mutual interests or goals. Some of the most pervasive virtual communities are online communities operating under social networking services.

An online community, also called an internet community or web community, is a virtual community whose members interact with each other primarily via the Internet. For many, online communities may feel like home, consisting of a "family of invisible friends". Those who wish to be a part of an online community usually have to become a member via a specific site and thereby gain access to specific content or links. An online community can act as an information system where members can post, comment on discussions, give advice or collaborate. Commonly, people communicate through social networking sites, chat rooms, forums, e-mail lists and discussion boards. People may also join online communities through video games, blogs and virtual worlds. The rise in popularity of Web 2.0 websites has allowed for easier real-time communication and ability to connect to others as well as producing new ways for information to be exchanged.

Collaboration tool

A collaboration tool helps people to collaborate. The purpose of a collaboration tool is to support a group of two or more individuals to accomplish a common goal or objective. Collaboration tools can be either of a non-technological nature such as paper, flipcharts, post-it notes or whiteboards. They can also include software tools and applications such as collaborative software.

Avatar (computing) Graphical representation of the user or the users alter ego or character

In computing, an avatar is the graphical representation of the user or the user's alter ego or character. An icon or figure representing a particular person in a video game, Internet forum, etc. It may take either a three-dimensional form, as in games or virtual worlds, or a two-dimensional form as an icon in Internet forums and other online communities. Avatar images have also been referred to as "picons" in the past, though the usage of this term is uncommon now. It can also refer to a text construct found on early systems such as MUDs. The term "avatar" can also refer to the personality connected with the screen name, or handle, of an Internet user.

The social web is a set of social relations that link people through the World Wide Web. The social web encompasses how websites and software are designed and developed in order to support and foster social interaction. These online social interactions form the basis of much online activity including online shopping, education, gaming and social networking websites. The social aspect of Web 2.0 communication has been to facilitate interaction between people with similar tastes. These tastes vary depending on who the target audience is, and what they are looking for. For individuals working in the public relation department, the job is consistently changing and the impact is coming from the social web. The influence, held by the social network is large and ever changing.

Social computing is an area of computer science that is concerned with the intersection of social behavior and computational systems. It is based on creating or recreating social conventions and social contexts through the use of software and technology. Thus, blogs, email, instant messaging, social network services, wikis, social bookmarking and other instances of what is often called social software illustrate ideas from social computing.

Digital reference is a service by which a library reference service is conducted online, and the reference transaction is a computer-mediated communication. It is the remote, NextNextcomputer-mediated delivery of reference information provided by library professionals to users who cannot access or do not want face-to-face communication. Virtual reference service is most often an extension of a library's existing reference service program. The word "reference" in this context refers to the task of providing assistance to library users in finding information, answering questions, and otherwise fulfilling users’ information needs. Reference work often but not always involves using reference works, such as dictionaries, encyclopedias, etc. This form of reference work expands reference services from the physical reference desk to a "virtual" reference desk where the patron could be writing from home, work or a variety of other locations.

Computer-supported collaboration (CSC) research focuses on technology that affects groups, organizations, communities and societies, e.g., voice mail and text chat. It grew from cooperative work study of supporting people's work activities and working relationships. As net technology increasingly supported a wide range of recreational and social activities, consumer markets expanded the user base, enabling more and more people to connect online to create what researchers have called a computer supported cooperative work, which includes "all contexts in which technology is used to mediate human activities such as communication, coordination, cooperation, competition, entertainment, games, art, and music".

A social networking service is an online platform which people use to build social networks or social relationship with other people who share similar personal or career interests, activities, backgrounds or real-life connections.

Personal knowledge networks have been primarily conceived by researchers with regard to the inter-firm knowledge sources between organisations, where networks are informal and personal. Instead of looking at the organisational context, some researchers investigate the intra-firm aspects at personal level of organisational knowledge networks, where knowledge management processes start and end. Various technologies and behaviours support personal knowledge networking for example wikis, Really Simple Syndication (RSS) and relationship networks. Interest is also being driven by the realization that KM can happen without a lot of explicit governance. This trend is called "grass-roots KM" as opposed to traditional, top-down enterprise KM.

Computer-supported collaborative learning (CSCL) is a pedagogical approach where in learning takes place via social interaction using a computer or through the Internet. This kind of learning is characterized by the sharing and construction of knowledge among participants using technology as their primary means of communication or as a common resource. CSCL can be implemented in online and classroom learning environments and can take place synchronously or asynchronously.

Synchronous conferencing is the formal term used in computing, in particular in computer-mediated communication, collaboration and learning, to describe technologies informally known as online chat. It is sometimes extended to include audio/video conferencing or instant messaging systems that provide a text-based multi-user chat function. The word synchronous is used to qualify the conferencing as real-time, as distinct from a system such as e-mail, where messages are left and answered later.

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to the Internet.

Social software is used in education. This use of social software is discussed here, with an emphasis on how research results can inform the practice of teachers and learners.

Open Cobalt

Open Cobalt is a free and open-source software platform for constructing, accessing, and sharing virtual worlds both on local area networks or across the Internet, with no need for centralized servers.

Social learning tools are tools used for pedagogical and andragogical purposes that utilize social software and/or social media in order to facilitate learning through interactions between individuals and systems. The idea of setting up "social learning tools" is to make education more convenient and widespread. It also allows an interaction between users and/or the software which can bring a different aspect to learning. People can acquire knowledge by distance learning tools, for instance, Facebook, Twitter, Khan Academy and so on. Social learning tools may mediate in formal or informal learning environments to help create connections between learners, instructors and information. These connections form dynamic knowledge networks. Social learning tools are used in schools for teaching/learning and in businesses for training. Within a school environment, the use of social learning tools can affect not only the user (student) but his/her caretaker as well as his/her instructor. It brings a different approach to the traditional way of learning which affects the student and his/her support circle. Companies also use social learning tools. They used them to improve knowledge transfer within departments and across teams. Businesses use a variety of these tools to create a social learning environment. They are also used in company settings to help improve team work, problem solving, and performance in stressful situations.

Internet genre refers to a type of genre explored in multimedia Studies. Others include film genre, video game genres and music genre. Genre, in terms of genre studies refers to the method based on similarities in the narrative elements from which media-texts are constructed.


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